In this post I collected the, in my opinion, 10 most commonly made mistakes by beginner photographers and I will show you how to avoid them.
Did you just buy a fancy camera and took some awesome pictures? Great! Have you already created a few social media sites dedicated to your art but you can’t get people to look at your work? Did you put loads of time an effort into your photography but it’s not paying off? Don’t worry, we can fix this! 🙂
1.) Quantity over quality
I have seen so many photographers on various social media platforms posting literally hundreds of pictures of the same thing or from the same event. Hundreds! Looking at their portfolio it’s evident that they didn’t go through the images before posting all of them straight from the camera as I often see many blurry pictures among these as well. Auch!
✓ How to avoid it: Only post your best work!
When you finish a project have a selecting and editing process in place. It is crucial to only post your best work so all the images on your portfolio are outstanding. This way I guarantee you your visitors will stay on your page and even come back for more. :
2.) Inconsistent portfolio
Consistency is key no matter what platform you are on and what type of art you do. Having an inconsistent portfolio can be very confusing to people who don’t know you and looking at you profile the very first time.
You might be a great street photographer but at the same time you do wedding shots and food photography as well. That’s great! But just imagine that someone finds one of your wedding pictures so they click on your profile to see more of these images. And what they find there is all sort of pictures from all sort of different genres. Chances are they just going to leave your profile and find another wedding photographer.
✓ How to avoid it: Be consistent!
What I would recommend you to do is having multiple accounts on the same platform for your different type of photography so you can have a clean, consistent portfolio on each of them.
3.) Lack of “personality”
It is very hard to find your own voice no matter what kind of art or business you want to start. For example: I like the art of Brooke Shaden and I really enjoy her motivation training videos. She also have videos of her editing process and I think it’s awesome that she wants to help artists to learn how to achieve a certain look, but… I have seen many photographers’ portfolios where Brooke’s style is so recognizable, I had to check the artist who created the picture to make sure it is not one of hers.
✓ How to avoid it: Find your “voice”!
Take your time! Actively work on finding your personal style. What I mean by that is experiment with different type of photography, take hundreds of different type of pictures if you want, then think about what type of photography you enjoy the most. After that you can move into that direction.
Finding inspiration in other artists’ portfolios is great. however, make sure you don’t copy someone’s work step by step. Nothing is better than being original, right?
4.) Too much Photoshop
And I mean waaay too much! I don’t think I have to explain this, we’re all know what I’m talking about… It happened to me loads when I was editing an image in Photoshop for hours and then went back to the picture the next day and realized that I’ve overdone it and it doesn’t look good at all. Using an editing software for hours can make you “blind” and you can ruin your picture without realizing it.
✓ How to avoid it: Remember: Less is more!
Take a break! Go back to the image a few hours later or even the next day with a fresh eye.
5.) Not knowing how to advertise the right way
I’ve seen it many times on different social media platforms that people post hundreds of pictures in a group at the same time just to get other users’ attention. I think we are all familiar with the “follow me and I will follow you back” concept as well.
✓ How to avoid it: Find what works for you!
My main advise is: find the audience who are actually interested in your art and not only following you just because they want followers back. To achieve that you will need to advertise the right way on the right platform, but more about this in the next blogpost. 🙂
6.) Focusing on the wrong things
How many social media and portfolio sites do you have? Are you sure you have time to look after all of them? Many new artists make the mistake of having too many sites where they showcase their portfolio so they cannot focus on either properly. The idea behind it is that if you are on 50 online platform instead of 5 your chances to be discovered are much higher, right? Not entirely true. Just because you are on these websites that doesn’t mean people will click on your profile. You need to engage with other people and drive traffic to you profile. You need to make sure you post regularly and I don’t just mean throwing something on to it every now and then. Your posts need to be engaging and interesting.
I feel like I need to mention gaining followers as well again because if your main goal is to have hundreds of followers, than you are doing it completely wrong. People often put loads of time and effort into gaining followers, spending hours on Instagram to get other people to look at their profile.
✓ How to avoid it: Focus on your art!
Engaging with others is very important, but don’t let this take the time away from actually creating. Nothing draws attention to you and your art more than good content!
Be active on social media. It is a great tool and you can reach a huge audience but pick a few platforms and focus on these!
7.) Expecting overnight success
I think this is a mistake EVERYONE made at some point.
You created some awesome artwork. Uploaded them onto your social media accounts. Maybe created a website. So exciting, right? But it’s just not working out the way you imagined it. Even though you are happy with the quality of your work you can’t get the attention you deserve!
✓ How to avoid it: Be patient!
Believe me, we’ve all been there! I mean everyone has been there! Okay, maybe not everyone. Maybe you were at the right place at the right time and your career took off straight away. 🙂
It is more likely that you will be disappointed and frustrated at first and have to work very hard to achieve your goals. It is hard work! But it’s so worth it at the end.
8.) Mixing personal and professional platforms
Some people simply don’t feel the need to create multiple accounts. So they post their artwork and personal photos on the same platform. There is nothing wrong with this if you are a hobby artist, only doing art for your own enjoyment and not planning on making a living out of it.
✓ How to avoid it: Separate your private and business accounts!
If you are planning on becoming a full time artist it is crucial to have a professional “business” account. This should be where you showcase your amazing pieces of art and everything that relates to your business. When you approach galleries, art magazines etc. this is the account that you would ask them check out. You don’t want the pictures from that party on Saturday night to be available on this account do you? No, it’s not too professional…
9.) Not having a blog/vlog
This is one of the biggest mistakes photographers make nowadays. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to have a blog if you are a photographer. I heard this advise so many times and I was kind of like… yeah, yeah sure…
✓ How to avoid it: Start a blog today!
A blog is a great tool and it can build a relationship between you and your audience. Having a blog allows people to get to know you and your story. And it’s fun as well! You don’t have to be a writer to start a blog. Keep a conversational tone and post regularly about what you do and what project you are working on.
I also share the story behind each of my photographs and series in the Monthly Photo series.
10.) Giving up
All the above mistakes can result in frustration and disappointment. People also make the mistake of not learning enough before they start this journey OR waiting for the right moment. Of course, the right moment never comes…
✓ How to avoid it: Don’t give up! (You didn’t see this coming, did you?)
You can do this! Probably nothing will go as planned but that is part of the gig! Keep doing what you love and the rest will follow! 😉